Wandering Dixie: Dispatches from the Lost Jewish South
Eisenfeld is a Yankee by birth, a Virginian by choice, an urbanite who came to love the rural South, a Civil War buff, and a non-observant Jewish woman. In Wandering Dixie, she travels to nine states, uncovering how the history of Jewish southerners converges with her personal story and the region’s complex, conflicted present. In the process, she discovers the unexpected ways that race, religion, and hidden histories intertwine.
From South Carolina to Arkansas, she explores the small towns where Jewish people once lived and thrived. She visits the site of her distant cousin and civil rights activist Andrew Goodman’s murder during 1964’s Freedom Summer. She also talks with the only Jews remaining in some of the “lost” places, from Selma to the Mississippi Delta to Natchitoches. Eisenfeld follows her curiosity about Jewish Confederates and casts an unflinching eye on early southern Jews’ participation in slavery. Her travels become a journey of revelation about our nation’s fraught history, and a personal reckoning with the true nature of America.
Kirkus Reviews: "Written in friendly, accessible...prose, the book is geared toward an audience of readers much like Eisenfeld before she took her journey: curious, open-minded, and ready for an introductory plunge into more profound racial consciousness. A digestible introduction to a specific piece of the history of the South’s racial politics."
Publisher's Weekly: "Eisenfeld...blends history and travelogue in this...exploration of race and religion in the South. [H]er stories provide many revealing tidbits for those who enjoy self-reflective historical writing."
Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal
"Eisenfeld writes about Shenandoah the way Annie Proulx writes about Wyoming or Edward Abbey about the deserts of the Southwest: pristine, unsentimental, eloquent prose." --Kirkus Reviews
“Shenandoah is a beautifully written portrait of a history-haunted landscape: wistful, wild, and enchanting, like the best of autumn hikes through Shenandoah National Park."
—Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic
Finalist for the 2015 Weatherford Award for best Appalachian books.
In this first-person travel journey through the lost communities of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Viriginia, Eisenfeld tells the story of her on-the-ground discovery of the relics and memories a few thousand mountain residents left behind when the government used eminent domain to kick them off their land to create Shenandoah National Park.